Ubuntu is under attack

Eric Dunbar eric.dunbar at gmail.com
Mon Dec 19 19:05:35 GMT 2005

On 12/19/05, Mikus Grinbergs <mikus at bga.com> wrote:
> In list.ubuntu, you wrote on Mon, 19 Dec 2005 11:12:56 -0500:
> >
> > What may be usable for you is what makes computers unusable or less
> > useful to the bulk of computer users -- DOS and other CLUIs were great
> > in the eyes of some (not-so-sane IMNSHO), yet DOS and all such CLUIs
> > required people to the be the tools of the computer, and not the other
> > way around where the computer itself was the tool.
> There's all kinds of people in the world.  My ideas about which is the
> slave and which is the master are the opposite of yours.  To me, using
> a Command Line signifies that __I__ am telling the computer what to do,
> whereas a Graphic User Interface to me LIMITS my actions to those the
> computer chooses to allow.  [For example, I think menus are a not-so-
> subtle method for the __computer__ to tell the human how to act.]

I'm NOT the average user (nor are you by any stretch of the
imagination). I _do_ use a lot of the not-so-intuitive, easy-to-use
features in Linux and often dive into the CLUI. However, I have spent
years dealing with users who aren't computer geeks like (you and) me,
and, for them Your (and My) Way of Doing Things (tm) simply doesn't

The beauty of Linux is that you (and I) can still do complex things,
but, the bulk of users DON'T HAVE TO! The fact that simpler (and, for
MOST PEOPLE, MORE EFFECTIVE) alternatives exist means that they can
USE Linux. Otherwise Linux would the bastion of the computer-geek,
which, although satisfying to some, would be a disaster for somethiing
like Ubuntu.

As for user = tool in CLUIs... see my other (recent) post.

> > PS It would not be a Bad Thing (tm) to ask a GNOME user whether they
> > really want to browse outside of "~/" (let alone /usr). There's no
> > reason that a person using a computer as a tool should be going
> > outside of "~/" so it's probably good practice to caution them against
> > going there, unless they have a REASON to be there.
> There's all kinds of people in the world.  I've become prejudiced
> against KDE because of its proliferation of k-something applications,
> most of which seem to be of no use to me.  That leaves me on Linux as
> a GNOME user by default (too much effort to customize something like
> fluxbox to the way I want things).  [My primary distro *still* is OS/2.]
> Despite being a GNOME user, I simply cannot CONCEIVE of being restricted
> to inside "~/" -- the *first* thing I did after installing Ubuntu was
> to enable root logons.  And unless I truly *am* a slave, I DON'T have to
> give reasons for wanting to change something in /etc, or to go looking
> within /var.
> Yes, for me a computer is a tool.  But it is tool only after I have
> __shaped__ it to fit my preferences.  [You mention Firefox - I ignore
> the built-in handholding, and manually populate its prefs.js with the
> customized settings to make it behave my way.]    Shaping the sheeple
> to fit the tool is to me NOT the way things ought to run.
> mikus

You are in the "1%" of users (vanishingly small number anyway) who
hack your prefences files (and other things... like having root).
These are not in the realm of the repertoire OR NEED of the vast
majority of users.

What I find mind boggling about the "experienced" Linux user defending
his (predominately male) turf is that for all their claimed experience
and understanding of Linux, they seem to lack the understanding that,
even in "dumbed" down Linux (not commenting on your post Mikus) all
the complexity still exists. It's just that the complexity is hidden
from view for users who don't need all that complexity, and, for whom
the complexity inhibits efficient operation.


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